By Shaykh Muzzammil Ahmad | 05 Jan 2024

In my recent Friday sermon, I reflected on the difficult circumstances facing Muslims globally, especially the violence inflicted upon our brothers and sisters in Gaza. I wanted to share a message of hope rooted in the example of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) and Qur’anic teachings.

I recounted the story of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. It is a major episode of the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which shaped the history of Islam. It illuminates enduring principles of patience, trust in Allah, diplomacy, and unwavering faith.

Though facing concern from many companions, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ signed the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with Makkan leaders. Despite the treaty’s seemingly unfavourable terms, our Prophet ﷺ maintained the agreement, upholding his word and trusting in Allah. Even with pushback over concessions, and perceived detrimental consequences to Muslims, the Prophet ﷺ kept his commitment unflinchingly.

Hudaybiyah is a powerful example of the verse in the Qur’an (2:216) where Allah the Most High says:

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.

This verse encapsulates the core lesson to maintain faith in Allah’s higher wisdom precisely when circumstances seem most bleak and incomprehensible. Allah reminds us that our human perceptions of good and bad, like and dislike, may be mistaken. What we might hate – conflict, injury, loss – can be a harbinger of goodness and blessing from Allah that we cannot yet grasp. And vice versa.  

Hence, we must place our trust in Allah’s knowledge rather than our own judgments. Just as the early Muslims – including some of the most senior companions of the Prophet ﷺ – could not see the emerging victory from an apparent setback, we too are often unable to comprehend the future bounties waiting at the end of the road of present hardship. Hudaybiyah teaches us that when guided by Allah’s mercy and wisdom that is indeed the case. Through faith and patience, an opening emerges. 

Initially the treaty seemed a setback, barring near-term access to Makkah. But it soon bore immense strategic and spiritual fruits. Within two years the rapid growth of converts to Islam led to the peaceful conquest of Makkah. The principles underpinning Hudaybiyah hold wisdom for us today.

The most crucial lesson is having patience and trusting in Allah even when disappointed, as the dejected Muslims returning from Hudaybiyah did. Allah soon revealed verses promising that the apparent setback was in fact a great victory, as He said in Surah Al-Fath (Qur’an, 48:1):

Indeed, We have granted you a clear triumph.

By honouring the agreement, even when it contains painful concessions, the Muslims demonstrated integrity. The Prophet ﷺ upheld terms unflinchingly until Allah facilitated renegotiation. This ethical steadfastness was instrumental in securing allies and unimaginable triumph. Through Allah’s boundless wisdom, a phase of peace and diplomacy paved the way for the bloodless conquest of Makkah in 630 CE. Instead of emotional reactions, farsighted planning bore dividends. Temporary setbacks opened the way for greater triumphs.

When confronting oppression, we must nurture steadfastness and work as a community to uplift our condition by Allah’s grace. If we emulate the Prophet’s ﷺ resilience, Allah can transform current injustices into openings for justice. By affirming divine wisdom in hardships, maintaining solidarity, and avoiding despair, Muslims can arise stronger from their position of apparent weakness.

Just as Allah turned grief into celebration for the early Muslims, we must maintain hope that Allah writes victory for oppressed Muslims today, if we strive with faith. My message is that in all life’s trials, despite outrage at injustice, we must see Allah’s hand and know He entrusts us to carry on His plan. Doing so requires nurturing ourselves spiritually now as the blessed month of Ramadan approaches.

If we firmly trust Allah’s wisdom and ultimate grace, maintain solidarity, and deepen our practice in difficult times, we set the stage for Allah to uplift our community from the ashes. Hope rests in recognizing apparent setbacks as stepping stones in Allah’s decree – as the seeds of future victories.

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